The Nationals may be finding themselves in a bit of quandary: which is worse for your luck, not doing some sort of ritual sacrifice to the baseball gods, or doing the sacrifice wrong? While yesterday’s 6-1 loss to the Padres was the sort that makes you wonder if the latter is more likely the case. A day after newly-minted National Sandy Leon was sent to the DL with a high ankle strain suffered at the plate – becoming the Nats’ second catcher to go on the DL in as many games – the Nationals looked listless and deflated in the field, making several mistakes early that cost runs on the board.
The offense was similarly moribund on Tuesday afternoon, collecting just five hits, and scoring just the one run on a long drive to the center field stands by Bryce Harper for his second home run. The Padres’ Anthony Bass was stellar against the Nats and often used his pitch-to-contact style to work over the NL East leaders. Ryan Zimmerman continues to battle against opposing pitching, hitting just .230 since his return, and neither Rick Ankiel nor Jesus Flores could find themselves aboard as the lineup turned over.
A footnote to the loss yesterday became the story, when beat reporters discovered that Strasburg had been suffering some discomfort due to some Hot Stuff ointment that relocated from Strasburg’s shoulder, where it was applied, to an area that was undisclosed by implied to be south of the belt. Rob Dibble, proving there’s no pitching event he won’t insert himself in, has criticized Strasburg for assigning blame to the oleoresin capsicum instead of his pitch command.
To date, Strasburg has requested to not discuss the incident – saying only “I’m going to keep that in the clubhouse,” and talked only about his pitching performance before the media. It’s not exactly clear how Dibble drew the erroneous conclusion, but then again, Dibble wasn’t exactly known for his rocket scientist reasoning in his short tenure in the MASN Broadcast Booth.
Perhaps we could arrange for a jar of the ointment to arrive at his radio studio for some demonstration tests.